Blennerhassetts Documentary Gets National Distribution | News, Sports, Jobs


“Treason Island: The Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr” has been selected for national distribution to over 300 public television stations by the National Educational Telecommunications Association. (Photo provided)

PARKERSBURG — A documentary about the Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr will be distributed nationally.

The National Educational Telecommunications Association has selected “Treason Island: The Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr” for national distribution to more than 300 public television stations. The association serves public television licensees and educational entities in all states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

“Treason Island: The Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr” was produced by MotionMasters, a Charleston-area production company.

“We are thrilled to have our film seen by viewers across the country,” said Diana Sole, president of MotionMasters and the project’s executive producer and writer. “West Virginia has a rich history and we love to produce documentaries about our state.”

“The Island of Betrayal” is the story of Irish immigrants Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett and their involvement with America’s fallen founder, Aaron Burr. Blennerhassett, who fled Ireland due to social scandal and his involvement in the Irish Revolution, settled on the edge of civilization on the Ohio River at Belpre and Parkersburg in 1798.

He bought the island on which he built one of the largest houses west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Blennerhassetts entertained American nobility and aristocracy at home, including Burr, and became involved in his political aspirations, which led to “The Trial of the Century” under the charge of treason.

The show featured experts on the island, Burr and the Blennerhassetts, including state parks historian Ray Swick of Parkersburg.

The documentary, narrated by Kathy Mattea, premiered in fall 2021 on West Virginia Public Broadcasting under the title, “The Blennerhassetts.” It was rebranded for national distribution under the title, “The Island of Betrayal.” MotionMasters’ documentaries are viewer favorites on WVPBS, which is the feature station for the film.

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